Shelby County’s HIPPY program can boost a 100 percent graduation rate for 2020-2021 after 47 children recently completed the program despite a very challenging year due to COVID-19.
The Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program is a parent involvement, school readiness home visitation program that helps eligible parents prepare their two, three, four, and five-year-old children for success in school and in life.
“It helps close the achievement gap for children who begin school already missing critical, early learning experiences,” said Shelby County Federal Programs Supervisor Mary Cooper. “It equips parents with tools and strategies they need to work with their preschool children in the home.”
Cooper said the program offers a curriculum that addresses five domains: language, literacy, math, science, and motor skills. Rich literature, higher-order thinking, and manipulatives (hands-on objects) are used throughout the program. Numerous hands-on, minds-on experiences are also incorporated into the program.
The Shelby County HIPPY Program is led by director is Paula Cooper. She is assisted by HIPPY Home Visitors, Alison Richardson, Phyllis Petterson, and Elizabeth DelToro, who serves the needs of dual-language families.
Over the course of 30 weeks, the home visitors provide instruction for the child’s parent or caregiver, who then turns that around to teach their child.
“Despite having to hold these Home Visitor-caregiver meetings virtually, the program had great success,” said Mary Cooper. “Shelby County HIPPY served 45 families and 47 children. 100 percent of these children completed the curriculum and were able to ‘graduate’ in an age-appropriate way.”
Graduations were held May 18 – 20. They included parents, HIPPY learners, siblings, relatives, and guests in a socially distanced manner.
HIPPY Home Visitors acted out “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle to delight the children and their families. A brief ceremony was held, recognizing parent and student success in the program, followed by Very Hungry Caterpillar-themed refreshments.
The students and parents also received a copy of the book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” as well as a Family Engagement Reading Skills and Phonemic Awareness kit.
“During the events, our HIPPY Director, Paula Cooper reminded parents that their children’s success in the program was due to the parents’/caregivers’ instruction so they could take ownership of their teaching and their child’s learning,” said Mary Cooper.